20 Things To Get Before You're 40

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1) A DEAD-SERIOUS PIECE OF TIMELESS CLOTHING

MC recommends: The YSL tux for women. yes, at $3560, it costs the equivalent of 350 pairs of leggings, but it will outlive them by several decades.

2) A LOOK

You're not Madonna; enough already with the bimonthly reinventions. Are you a Dietrich throwback? A reconstructed punk? Figure it out and shop accordingly.

3) A PIECE OF ART

Yes, the birch trees in that framed Ansel Adams poster are v. haunting, but consider an investment piece with which to start an actual art collection. Living artists cost less; how about a Cecily Brown print or a limited-edition Tom Sachs multiple?

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4) A FIRST EDITION . . .

of To The Lighthouse, the ur-Woolf.

5) FANCY LUGGAGE (A MATCHED SET, PLEASE)

No more schlepping through airports with midcentury Samsonite. MC recommends: Gucci's new Guccissima line, which makes the goofball trolley look like a major style statement ($3350).

6) ENLIGHTENED

Go see the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. For his schedule, visit www.dalailama.com.

7) A FINANCIAL ADVISOR

No, the hedge-fund dude one stool over doesn't count.

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8) A MUSEUM MEMBERSHIP

Whether it's the Met, the Getty, or the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia, it's time to earn some culture cred. take your place on the gala circuit - perfect for that YSL tux.

9) A MAMMOGRAM

'Nuff said.

10) A GOOD CAUSE

Stop considering yourself your own favorite charity. Amnesty International? Oxfam? Amfar? Then get your new financial advisor to determine what chunk of every paycheck you can commit.11) A REAL WATCH

No, you can't wear rubber on your wrist with the YSL tux. MC recommends: the Cartier roadster ($3,950). Mechanical movement with automatic winding that works off the heat from your skin. Kinky. . .

12) A BIG-ASS TV

MC recommends: Philips 50-inch ambilight, $3999. Hello, size queen.

13) A SMARTY-PANTS SUBSCRIPTION

Foreign Affairs, The American Scholar, The Economist. To be read, not fanned out on the coffee table.

14) A SERIOUS RIDE

Adieu, Budget! MC recommends: the Cadillac XLR roadster, $78,495. Not your daddy's Caddy, trust us.

15) AWAY

Forget the brocade cushiness of the European capitals. Whether it's overnighting in a ger in Mongolia or experiencing Vietnam before Mcdonald's takes over, enjoy a soul-expanding, life-changing Third World vacation.

16) SOME CLASSIC CDs

Verve just released the to go series featuring discs of Coltrane, Ella, Billie, and seven others. Buy all 10: Jazz makes you look cool and gets you laid; even better, you'll be listening to these long after you've stopped caring about both.

17) SOME CLASSIC DVDs

Try MGM's Billy Wilder Collection: everything from The Apartment to Some Like It Hot. In terms of classy wit, makes The Devil Wears Prada look like Loony tunes.

18) A DECENT CUP OF COFFEE

Wake up and smell it. MC recommends: the Illy X1 Francis Francis! Espresso Machine ($800).

19) A DESTINATION HAIRCUT

Whether it's Leonor Greyl in Paris, or Chris McMillan in L.A., spend serious bank, at least once, on something crazy-chic.

20) OTHER THINGS TO GET?

Busy, ready, pregnant, on with it. (Did we mention a YSL tux?)

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